BEVERLY HILLS (CBS) — Can you sue the dead?
A former employee of the House of Bijan believes the answer is yes.
The fashionable and pricey Beverly Hills men’s boutique House of Bijan was sued Thursday by Brittany Anderson, a former employee who alleges she was sexually harassed by the store’s late founder.
Anderson also maintains she was fired for complaining about the alleged harassment. Anderson filed her lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. She also alleges retaliation and discrimination based on race. She is seeking unspecified damages.
In addition to the company, she names as defendant the estate of Buan Pakzad, who started the House of Bijan and died last April.
A woman who answered the phone at Bijan said there would be no comment on the lawsuit.
Anderson worked for Bijan from April 2009 to last May designing ads and retouching photos.
Bijan bills itself as “the most expensive store in the world,” according to the lawsuit. As a seller of luxurious men’s clothing its representatives have dressed such luminaries as President Obama, former presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, actors Tom Cruise and Anthony Hopkins and former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan, the lawsuit states.
The store also sells jewelry and fragrances.
According to the complaint, before Pakzad died he often flirted with Anderson, told her that he preferred her body over that of her co-workers, regularly said he wanted her sexually and tried to kiss her on the lips.
When Anderson told Pakzad she was moving in with her boyfriend, she hoped he would stop harassing her, the suit states. Instead, Pakzad retaliated by demoting her and taking away some of her job duties, according to the suit.
Anderson was fired for protesting her treatment and because the boutique had a preference for hiring Persian employees, the lawsuit states.
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